KKR and the American Heart Association Announce Joint Study to Improve the Health of America’s Workforce
Research Collaboration Designed to Identify Best Practices in Workplace Wellness
September 12, 2012
NEW YORK and DALLAS – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (together with its affiliates “KKR”) and the American Heart Association (AHA) are teaming up to help create a healthier workforce.
Together, KKR and the American Heart Association are launching the first-of-its-kind research collaboration to study the effectiveness of workplace wellness initiatives offered at KKR and its portfolio companies. The research effort will be based on aggregate data collected from the portfolio companies enrolled in the KKR Wellness Works program.
Since its inception, several of KKR’s private equity portfolio companies in the United States have been active participants in developing the KKR Wellness Works Model. Currently, the four participating portfolio companies, which encompass more than 140,000 employees, include First Data Corporation, HCA Holdings, Inc., Sealy Corporation and Visant Corporation.
Wellness Works provides a best practice model which participating companies follow in developing their individual wellness programs. At a minimum, the companies commit to providing employees with incentives of $250 or more, for completing certain wellness requirements, including completing an annual biometric screening. The results from the screening along with health management resources are provided to the employees to allow them to optimize their screening results. These resources can include access to health coaching, incentives tied to making lifestyle changes and tools for tracking and reducing health risks among others.
George Roberts, co-founder and Co-CEO, said KKR believes healthier employees help create successful companies and the alliance with the American Heart Association will help improve both the nation’s physical and economic health.
“In terms of the depth and breadth of the initiative, this has the potential to be among the most comprehensive analyses ever conducted on workplace wellness programs,” said Mr. Roberts. “Our goal is to support individuals in improving their wellness thereby building stronger communities and companies. Sharing what we learn will allow other companies to implement more effective workplace wellness programs.”
The KKR and AHA joint-study will examine the overall impact of wellness programs on employees’ health, as well as the effectiveness of the tools and incentives used at these KKR portfolio companies. Both the American Heart Association and KKR believe that wellness is a critical component to the health of an individual, a company and a community. Currently, employers are responsible for designing and paying for the vast majority of health care for those under 65 years. In fact, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of companies’ annual medical costs are spent on employees with major risk factors for chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The most common risk factors include cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and physical inactivity. Research shows that many of these can be reduced through providing information on wellness and changes in lifestyle.
“Our hope with this collaboration is to ultimately improve workplace wellness by helping individuals build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., American Heart Association President. “By gaining research and insights on which elements of workplace wellness programs are most effective, we can help provide employees the resources they need to live healthier lives and improve their quality of life.”
Employees at the participating portfolio companies will gain access to educational tools and support resources including a “My Life Check” wellness portal to help them improve and maintain their overall health. The tools will supplement existing wellness efforts already underway at participating companies with the goal of providing more resources and a greater impact for employees.
"At Visant we know firsthand the positive impact wellness initiatives can have on the overall health and well-being of employees," said Marc L. Reisch, President and Chief Executive Officer at Visant Corporation. "We are pleased to participate in the program with KKR and the AHA and believe that this collaboration is a unique opportunity to identify and increase engagement in effective wellness initiatives."
KKR and the American Heart Association believe that individuals who “know their numbers” are more able to make improved health choices. Through an incentivized wellness program, KKR aims to engage employees, increase participation rates, change employee behaviors and eventually reduce health risks.
“We believe that this program will be another example of KKR’s commitment to delivering shared value – value for our portfolio companies, for our investors and for the communities where we work,” said Mr. Roberts. “We are thrilled to be on this journey with the American Heart Association.”
The wellness program operates in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All testing, results and data analysis at the participating companies are handled by their certified healthcare partners and all information is completely confidential. The data used for the research initiative will be unidentifiable and can never be traced back to an individual person. For more information about the KKR Wellness Works program and the AHA-KKR research study visit www.kkrwellnessworks.com
Founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, KKR is a leading global investment firm with $61.5 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2012. With offices around the world, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes. KKR seeks to create value by bringing operational expertise to its portfolio companies and through active oversight and monitoring of its investments. KKR complements its investment expertise and strengthens interactions with investors through its client relationships and capital markets platform. KKR is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:KKR). For additional information, please visit KKR's website at www.kkr.com
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke—America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org